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Soft drinks the most ‘dangerous’ factor in dental erosion

New research has suggested that soft drinks could be the most significant factor in dental erosion in adults.

Published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, the study of nearly 4,000 adults found that those who had the worst cases of tooth wear were more likely to drink greater amounts of sugar-based soft and fruit drinks.

Analysing the National Health and Nutrition Examinations Survey data for 2003-2004, the team found that 79 per cent of adults had some level of tooth wear, while nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) had mild tooth wear.

One in ten of those surveyed had moderate tooth wear, while five per cent had severe cases.

In addition, the researchers found that those with moderate or severe tooth wear consumed more soft drinks and fruit juices each day than people in the other groups.

This is due to the fact that many popular soft drinks and fruit juices contain high levels of sugar, which many people are unaware of. This can not just lead to dental erosion but also tooth decay, which can result in tooth loss.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said that the high concentration of sugar and acids in fruit juices means they can have a real impact on someone’s oral health, despite them being a good way to get more fruit into your diet.

He said: “Water and milk are the best choices by far, not only for the good of our oral health but our overall health too.  Remember, it is how often we have sugary foods and drinks that causes the problem so it is important that we try and reduce the frequency of consumption.”

Dr Carter warned that even labels that advertise ‘no added sugar’ do not necessarily mean that the product is sugar free.  

Because of the common misconception about soft drinks and fruit juices, dental practices may want to focus marketing materials on educating people, especially children, about the problems linked to high consumption.

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